Alex de Minaur suffers crushing birthday blow in 'crazy' Rotterdam drama
The Aussie tennis star took to social media in disappointment after the heartbreaking scenes.
Alex de Minaur has taken to social media in disappointment after squandering two match points in a heartbreaking quarter-final defeat to Grigor Dimitrov at the Rotterdam Open. The Aussie was handed the most wretched 24th birthday present in the Netherlands after failing to see out victory against the plucky Bulgarian.
De Minaur looked to be on his way to the semi-finals of the ATP 500 indoor event when he held two match points at 6-4 in the decisive final-set tiebreak. The Aussie had a straightforward shot that should have put him in the last-four but miscued his attempted forehand winner and gifted the point to Dimitrov.
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The birthday boy's shot strayed into the tramlines and the World No.28 Dimitrov escaped, going on to eke out the final four points to claim a thrilling 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) win after just over two-and-a-half hours of the most engrossing battle. Dimitrov - showing glimpses of the quality which once had him ranked the third-best player in the game - sealed victory on his first match point chance, to rub further salt into the wounds for de Minaur.
The manner in which the Bulgarian sealed victory was even more gut-wrenching for the Aussie after his opponent conjured up a seemingly impossible whipped forehand pass from the baseline which screamed past de Minaur and clipped the line. It was a deflating end to what had been such a promising week for the Australian No.2, who came so close to a third tremendous win in just three days after being presented with a daunting draw.
Not playing quite as well as when turning over world No.5 Andrey Rublev in his opening-round match, the Sydneysider was ultimately let down by 42 unforced errors. But the real disappointment came after he'd fought back from being outplayed in the first set to put himself in position to set up a semi-final against Daniil Medvedev, who later went on to book his place with a 6-2 6-4 win over defending champ Felix Auger-Aliassime.
"Definitely not the best Birthday present I could’ve had," de Minaur wrote on social media alongside a couple of frustrated emojis. "Still thanks everyone for the Bday wishes." Tennis fans also took to social media to react to the wild finish in Rotterdam, with many expressing sympathy for the vanquished Aussie.
Definitely not the best Birthday present I could’ve had….. 🤦♂️😓 Still thanks everyone for the Bday wishes ❤️
— alex de minaur (@alexdeminaur) February 17, 2023
I felt bad watching this in the morning…. De Minaur was at Match point. Crazy https://t.co/9u3kMn7X0n
— BIDI BIDI BUM BUM (@layla_job) February 18, 2023
So, so close for Alex De Minaur in Rotterdam... Grigor Dimitrov pips him at the post 63 36 76 (6) to reach semis
— Craig Gabriel (@crosscourt1) February 17, 2023
the opening dimitrov/de minaur match in rotterdam today was OFF THE HOOK & crazy good.
another 3rd set breaker full of kookoo bananas stuff... #ATPtour#theseguysaregood #ABNAMROopen
— mick scrivener (@realscrivinTO) February 17, 2023
Alex De Minaur is disappointed to lose on his birthday, that too after wasting two match points 😢#AlexDeMinaur #Birthday #Tennis pic.twitter.com/BGCbAmIIZf
— Sportskeeda Tennis (@SK__Tennis) February 17, 2023
Heartache in Rotterdam Open for birthday boy de Minaur. #Ten ATP # https://t.co/Q81yrOW4pk
— Racing And Sports (@RandSNewsfeed) February 17, 2023
Spare a thought for #DeMinaur ppl, tough to lose a match that way, and on his 24th birthday of all days. But, that's tennis.. 😐 #abnamroopen
— ULTM8SerenaWilliamsf (@ultm8swfans) February 17, 2023
Daniil Medvedev too good for Felix Auger-Aliassime
Medvedev took his record over Auger-Aliassime to 5-0 as he reached the last-four in Rotterdam with a comfortable straight sets win. The Russian hit just five unforced errors to the Canadian's 20 in the 6-2, 6-4 triumph.
"Today was my best match of the week, but I have to build on this," the World No.11 said. Medvedev next faces Dimitrov for a place in the Rotterdam decider.
World No.14 Jannik Sinner, who shocked top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets earlier in the week, made the last-four by seeing off three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3. The 72-minute victory extended Sinner's winning streak to six matches after he also collected the Montpellier title last weekend.
"I just try to play every match with a high intensity, try to play my game, try to adapt myself," Sinner said. "The first round match here was very important for me, then I try to keep going, to get more rhythm. Today I think it was also a good match. It's never easy playing against him, so I'm very happy."
Sinner will next face Dutch wild card Tallon Griekspoor who downed compatriot and World No.160 Gijs Brouwer 6-4, 6-4.
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